They’ve been there for us through the dark days and supported us when times were uncertain.

Adapting to the situation as it changed what felt like every hour, they seamlessly transitioned from restaurants and coffee shops to corner shops and delis, keeping our shelves stocked when the big supermarkets couldn’t and keeping our spirits lifted with the comfort and security they offered.

From take-away versions of our favourite dishes, to treats delivered directly to our doors, Birmingham’s independents made lockdown seem bearable, delivering everything from wine and cheese and ready-made cocktails to Sunday roasts and make-your-own pizza kits. Without them, the lockdown months would have been even harder – and for the glimmer of hope they brought us, we owe them a great deal.

As many of our city’s shining stars are preparing to welcome back their customers, we know that SO many of you are eager to get out there and support local in person once again. With this in mind, read on for our suggestions on how you can show your support.

PHOTO CREDIT: VERITY MILLIGAN

Be Kind – Always

This should go without saying, and it’s something we encourage in “normal” times anyway, but an extra dose of kindness will go a long way in the current situation. Remember that the people behind the businesses you love are individuals and families who have risked everything to keep their business going. They’ve stressed about how to pay their staff, worried over unpaid bills and fought hard to offer something special during difficult times. Things won’t be exactly the same as they were pre-lockdown, but everyone is doing their best.

Support, Not Shame

Everyone is human, and everyone makes mistakes. If you see something you think isn’t quite right, talk to a member of staff. Don’t go straight to social media to name and shame – give them a chance to correct it. If you’re not comfortable talking to them in person, send them a message. We’re all in this together and supporting rather than shaming is so important right now.

Be Patient

We’re pretty sure we don’t need to remind you, but this isn’t a normal situation. Staff and businesses are working tirelessly to make sure they can serve you your favourite dishes, drinks, treats and services in the safest possible way for everyone. But this means things may take longer. You may have to wait slightly longer for your take-away coffee, you may need to wait while tables, counters and equipment are cleaned more thoroughly and more regularly than before. Allow a little extra time for a trip somewhere and wait patiently with a smile – it will be worth the wait.

Remember Who Was There For You

We know it can be easy to get swept up in the hysteria when a big chain re-opens, but don’t forget who was there for you during lockdown. Remember the independents who looked after you when everywhere else was closed. Remember who delivered your store cupboard essentials when supermarket shelves were bare, and who brought you a delicious take-away when you were tired of your bland pasta dinners. Remember who was there for you, and return that support tenfold.

Stay Safe

We know you’re chomping at the bit to get out there and see your mates and support your favourite local venues, and that’s great! But don’t let those months of lockdown go to waste by forgetting those safety measures straight away – they’re in place for a reason. Have some common sense, be kind to the staff members enforcing the rules (they’re just doing their job), and we can all hopefully enjoy this new freedom for the long run.

Support From A Distance

If you still don’t feel comfortable venturing into the big wide world just yet, you can still support from the comfort and safety of home. Continue to order deliveries and take-aways from those who offer them (and gift vouchers to use at a future date). Like and comment on your favourite indie’s social media posts. Leave a positive review from last time you were there. All these little gestures go a long way, and your support really counts.

To discover Brum’s very best independents offering take-away, collection and delivery services, click here.

Be Understanding

Not every independent will be able to reopen straight away – respect this and have some patience. Visit those who have opened, support those who are still operating on a take-away or delivery basis, and once your favourites are able to reopen go and support them safely.

If we all take these ideas and tips on board, we will hopefully see our favourite places reopening across the city in the months to come. Show Birmingham’s greatest treasures some love as and when they open, and support them as we know you all will.

Support us in our mission to support Brum’s independents.

Independent Birmingham is a valuable platform for celebrating and shining a light on Birmingham’s marvellous independent scene. However, we too are a small, independent business facing uncertainty at this testing time. Help keep IB alive by downloading the Independent Birmingham App and signing up as a member, here – the IB App not only provides a fantastic database of independents for you to discover and support, it also allows you to enjoy up to 25% off (alongside exclusive 2-for-1 offers, freebies, and more) at over 135 of the very best independents across Birmingham and Solihull – all for just £1.99 a month.